“In 25 years as Mayor of Bora Bora I’ve officiated at ceremonies such as those for Nicole Kidman or the recent marriage of Tony Parker, but I’ve never seen so many people coming from outside of Bora Bora to celebrate a wedding, never seen a wedding where so many people have come from every corner of the globe – from Australia, from the USA, from Europe, from Asia – & where they clearly all know each other so well, have gathered as one big family with such warmth to well-wish those being married”. Gaston Tong Sang, Mayor of Bora Bora & former President of French Polynesia.
This was a HUGE ‘destination wedding’ by any standards – around 120 guests flew in from every corner of the globe. Polynesians have an innate passion for festivities, for singing & dancing, for sharing in a spirit of joy – this was a wedding where the eyes feasted on the colours of the rich tapestry of Tahitian cloth, where one felt the welcome of a million flowers, where the intoxicating perfume of tiare Tahiti permeated the air, where guitars & ukuleles strummed joyfully, & all this was encapsulated in a ceremony packed with tenderness & warmth.
In France, for a marriage to be recognized it must first be celebrated at the Town Hall. The size of Bora Bora’s Wedding Hall &, in particular, the logistics of moving this body of people by water meant that only the bridal party (which included 12 bridesmaids & flower girls & a similar number of groomsmen & page boys!) & immediate family could be accommodated – not that the others were concerned as they were whisked by water, across the world’s most beautiful lagoon flanking the spectacular Mt Otemanu to a sensational setting on a private motu to prepare for the Traditional Tahitian Wedding that would follow the civil ceremony.
The Photographer’s Take of the Civil Ceremony ……………. with a little help from Mal Lyons
With guests heading to the Town Hall aboard a large powered catamaran, it was a beach start:
The arrival of the bride – warmly received by the Mayor & his wife:
The families of the bride & groom are seated to the right of the bride & groom. Those chosen by the bride & groom to witness the marriage, including the Best Man & Matron of Honour installed on the left – they came from Sydney & Melbourne, Paris & Los Angeles reflecting not just how widely traveled were the bride & groom but how widely they are loved:
Various ‘articles’ relating to being married under French law are read out with the Mayor joking about the fact that nowadays with ‘equality under the law’, the man is no longer ‘head of the household’, which brought much laughter to & joking between the parties concerned as they stood to take their matrimonial vows:
YEEEEEEEEES!!!!!! I give you Mr & Mrs Daniel Torr:
“With this ring I thee wed”:
Tavana, the Tahitian term of endearment for their Mayor, is the first to congratulate the happy couple after marrying them in a ceremony of genuine warmth touched with humour:
The happiest of gatherings:
Check out the video to get some of the ambience!!!
Moana is Tahitian for the ocean, the sea. Myriama, mother of the bride, had specifically chosen “Moana theme only” songs to be sung at the marriage. Listen carefully to the words by chance captured in the video – the song recounts a couple that fell in love in Tahiti before having to leave for overseas: aue aue aue hoi ie te reva nei au na te moana (I’m leaving over the ocean). Brilliant!
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Dan & Moana – love & a long & happy life together to you both. May you be blessed with children & may you find the fulfilment & completeness God has planned for you.